Tips to reducing cellphone addiction in kids

The invention and development of cell phones are insightful ones undoubtedly. Owing to a host of advantages it has brought us, adults and kids inclusive, the relevance of cell phones can not be undermined.

However, as good as this advent is, many people tend to use them to the disadvantage of their mental and physical health. Common ways to know if you are addicted to your phone may include:

Spending excess time texting, chatting and interacting with people than you do in the real-world

  • Finding yourself using your phone even when there is nothing productive to be done on it
  • Gaining self-fulfillment in using your phone other than interacting with the rest of the world
  • Getting at your phone to socialize even when it is not convenient or suitable
  • Finding yourself using your phone out of self-compulsion (involuntarily)
  • Feeling reluctant and less productive when you do not have your phone

The adverse effect of cell phone addiction 

The effects of cell phone overdependence are shocking and quite devastating. Some of these are:

  • Increased health complications like eye/sight problems, body pain, muscle redundancy, short-term memory problems, etc.
  • Worsened communication skills
  • Anxiety and mental stress
  • Aggravated level of depression and self-esteem issues

Ways of controlling cell phone addiction

The various ways by which cell phone addiction can be curtailed could very prove to be tasking. However, it is important to break free from this addiction. Tips on defeating cellphone addiction include:

  • Consciously set aside a day to stay without your phone every week
  • Set a 30-day recovery time frame for yourself 
  • Never charge your phone beside you while you sleep
  • Get interesting apps that will help you stay focused and monitor your screen time daily. Apps like space, screen-time, forest, flip, and app freeze are awesome apps that can assist you with setting realistic goals.
  • Remove apps that you spend time with from your home screen 
  • Utilize functions like turning off your notification, as well as turning on “do not disturb” and airplane mode often.

The toxicity of cellphone addiction

In the last decade, technology has thrived in aspects of inventing advanced mobile phones and other devices. Androids, iPhones, and other smartphones now afford almost anybody the leverage to access the internet from wherever and whenever.

Over half the world’s population, including children and adults, own a mobile phone. While many people do not have a problem with this, others develop an addiction to their phones.

As technology keeps growing from height to height, the functionalities and capabilities of cellphones upswing also. These, in turn, increased the possibility of overuse and mental dependence.

Social media apps like Facebook, WhatsApp, Snapchat, Instagram, Twitter, Telegram, and others, require people to spend a lot of time on their phones. The expectation of new followers, likes, comments, and engagements get people overly attached to their phones.

Asides from social media applications, mobile games, movies, music, and other fun things are also on the go for any smartphone user. All these benefits consciously or unconsciously contribute to cellphone obsession.

Getting addicted to your phone can be both physically and psychologically detrimental to you in the long run. Some of the numerous physical and psychological damages that could cellphone addiction are:

  1. Neck and overall body pain: when you stare at your phone or tablet for hours with your neck down, you could develop neck pain. Sitting or lying at a spot for a long time could also contribute to body pain.
  2. Illness and health complications: due to excessive body rest, one could develop several health disorders like cardiovascular disease, HBP, muscle pain, eye problem, weak immune system, etc.
  3. Reduced sleep time and increased fatigue: could result in an unstable sleep time and mental stress.
  4. Anxiety and depression
  5. Relationship problems
  6. Isolation and self-esteem issues
  7. Other physical damages may include male infertility due to excessive radiation from phones, car accidents, etc.

The Risk of Dissociatives

Dissociative drugs are “a class of hallucinogen that are known for altering perceptions of sight, sound, and connections with one’s surroundings. When taken, they generate feelings of separation, or dissociation, from the environment and self.” As a result, this can have a huge impact on the individual who is addicted by causing him/her to feel as though he/she is out of his/her own body. The biggest reason for this is because these types of drugs numb the person so that he/she is no longer able to pick up on pain like he/she would normally – through his/her central nervous system. Instead, he/she might feel as though he/she is on top of the world where no harm will come to him/her. 

In turn, that’s why such substances are called dissociative because not only does the addict begin to lose his/her sense of reality, but he/she begins to lose his/her sense of self as well. This can cause him/her to be unaware as to whether or not he/she has hurt himself/herself. Consequently, he/she may find himself/herself acting recklessly because of this, causing danger to himself/herself and others. The activities that he/she might choose to take part in can vary, but one, in particular, could be him/her driving under the influence. Some of the short term effects of dissociative drugs are listed as follows; numbness, disorientation, hallucinations, dizziness, and memory loss. However, there are many more based on the level – and/or dosage – at which the individual is taking the substance. 

This is where long term effects come in causing a plethora of problems by affecting the future of those who have abused dissociative drugs. Some of these include but are not limited to “depression, anxiety, and suicidal thoughts.” These can happen over a prolonged amount of time if the individual continues to abuse the substance. In conclusion, if the person gets the help that he/she needs early on he/she has the opportunity – and/or more of a likelihood – of avoiding mental health disorders. Then – and only then – can the individual get the help that he/she needs so that he/she might be able to live an addiction-free life. But if he/she chooses to continue on his/her current path it can pose as dangerous, and may even result in death.

The Physical Health Risks Of Cell Phone Addiction

Cell phones are a major factor in our modern day world, and while some may find themselves on their phones slim to none, many of us may find ourselves on our phones frequently throughout the day. Phones are what keep us connected to the world around us, whether it’s to keep in touch with family while on business, or whether we are catching up with a close friend—via facetime—who has since moved away. Yet, even though there are a number of ways in which our phones benefit us, there are just as many disadvantages if we aren’t careful to use our phones in moderation. Consequently, excessive phone usage does not only affect one mentally/emotionally, but physically as well, through factors such as; their weight and their sleep patterns.

First and foremost is his/her weight which can begin to take a toll due to the obsession that he/she has with his/her phone. Oftentimes, those who scroll frequently on their phone begin to lose track of time, as second scrolls turn into minute scrolls, and minute scrolls turn into hour scrolls. They then begin to find themselves disconnected with reality, and instead only taking that which is right in front of their face, rather than that of their surroundings. In turn, this can cause problems for those who spend more time on their phones, rather than outside. The more time that they spend on their phones, the quicker that day turns to night, and they then find themselves wondering where all their time has went, and/or where it has been spent. In the midst of all that time, even a fifteen minute walk can make a big difference, doing good for their bodies, as well as their mental health.

Second is the effect that phones have on one’s sleep pattern. For many of us have heard that we should avoid tv, phones, and other such forms of light source right before bed because it makes it harder to sleep. In turn, the bright light exposure can throw off one’s sleep schedule, and cause him/her to get less sleep than he/she would normally. In turn, if this becomes a habit for the particular individual to scroll through his/her phone before bed, he/she may find himself/herself frequently waking up tired.

In conclusion, there are underlying effects that come with excessive cell phone usage, just as much as there are problems that wear on one physical. That’s why it’s important that individuals young or old are careful as to how much time they chose to spend on their phone, vs. how much time they take to interact with the world around them. For, if they aren’t careful it can cause great harm to their physical health, in addition to their mental/emotional health.

How Cell Phone Addiction Came to Be

cell phone addiction originsCell phones are deeply ingrained into North American culture in the present time. Children learn how to operate cell phones while they are still in diapers. It is likely that nothing will slow down the pervasiveness of cell phones save for an apocalypse. Millennials are the final generation to live in a cell phone free world. But how did this obsession with cell phones begin? The answer is, with painstaking effort.

Motorola engineer Martin Cooper has the distinct honor of being the first man ever to place a cell phone call in 1973. He was in a public race with a rival to be the first to invent one. Since then, the concept of a cell phone has taken on a number of new shapes.

Cell phones were not available for purchase until the mid 1980’s when the United States Federal Communications Commission approved mobile phones for public use, and when they did become available, their price tag was overwhelmingly high. Their technology was cutting edge for the time, but laughable by today’s standards. Mobile phones weighed almost an entire kilogram and had a battery life of eight hours.

These monolithic cell phones were used until the early 1990’s, becoming more portable in size and weight, but retaining the same basic features. In 1993, the world’s first smart phone was introduced, complete with features such as a keypad, e-mail and a pager. In 2002, camera features were introduced into cell phone technology, shortly followed by cell phone internet capabilities in 2003.

At this point, cell phones were already beginning to replace land-lines for voice communication technology. As people embraced more and more the ease of having a communications device on them at all times, the traditional home phone became outdated. The moment when the world was overtaken by smart phone technology was in 2007 when Apple introduced its first iPhone. No one had ever seen a phone, wireless communication device and digital music storage unit combined into one piece of technology. Owning a smart phone became a status symbol, and then became commonplace. Thus began the phenomenon that would lead to cell phone addiction.

What is Cell Phone Addiction?

cell phone addiction definitionCell phone addiction is one of the more modern addictions to be discussed presently. Because cell phones are only twenty years old, cell phone addiction has not had much time to be examined, so we are still growing to understand its attributes. There are some characteristics of cell phone addiction that psychologists have identified, however, such as your state of mind when separated from your phone, the social situations you bring your phone into, how close you keep it to your person at all times, how quickly you go to it in the morning and how late you go to it at night.

One tell-tale sign of cell phone addiction is how you feel when you do not have your cell phone on you. Everyone becomes separated from their cell phone eventually, whether it is due to theft or accidental misplacement. Your personal reaction when this happens to you says a lot about how in control you are of your cell phone needs. If you are calm and know that the situation can be remedied, chances are you are not addicted. If you experience stress, anxiety or panic, this is a sign of addiction.

There are appropriate times and places for cell phone use. In-person social occasions are not one of them. This does not include brief cell phone use that is for the good of the group, such as calling to confirm a restaurant reservation. But if you are in the midst of a social situation and you still feel the need to be “connected” to your digital world through your cell phone, you may have a problem.

You should feel able to part with your cell phone from time to time, especially at minute levels such as going to the bathroom. It may seem unbelievable to some, but there are people who get anxiety going to the bathroom without their cell phones. If you are unable to go to the bathroom, get the mail or in general leave the room without your cell phone, you may be addicted.

And lastly, if your phone is the first thing you want when you wake up in the morning and the last thing you see before going to bed, you are engaging in unhealthy behavior. Your need for this particular piece of technology has become too intimate at this point, and you must draw boundaries between yourself and your cell phone.

How to End Cell Phone Addiction

end cell phone addictionCell phone addiction is a recent phenomenon, and one that our culture does not know quite what to do with yet. Arguably, our culture as a whole is in complete denial of cell phone addiction. The average person spends too much time on their cell phone, making cell phone addiction so widespread that it is flying under the radar. However, in time, it will be recognized as a detrimental addiction and will need to be dealt with. So exactly how do we ween an entire society off of an addiction? The same way we do with every other type of addiction.

Being addicted to a cell phone is not dangerous in the way a substance addiction is dangerous. We can not overdose on cell phone usage at the cost of our own mortality. However, some attributes of a cell phone addiction can be compared to a substance addiction, particularly the threat they pose when operating heavy machinery. Driving and using a cell phone is certainly the most urgent risk a cell phone addiction proposes and is solely worth eradicating cell phone addiction for. Being addicted to a cell phone poses other threats, albeit less obvious ones, such as fragmentation of society, loss of in-person social skills and deterioration of conversation ability. Cell phone addiction is decidedly destructive and needs to be stopped.

It is possible that cell phones are addictive in the same way as gambling is, which has been found to alter brain chemicals with its powerful effects. If this is the case, then ending a cell phone addiction should be taken seriously. For a less severe addiction, it may simply require the addict to motivate themselves through self-help methods or personal cognitive behavior alteration. For more severe addictions, such as the ones that cause cell phone use while driving, a person may have to seek counseling, support groups or outpatient rehabilitation. Cell phone addiction inpatient rehabilitation is not yet established due to controversy over the legitimacy of cell phone addiction, but it is very possible that it will be established in the not so distant future.

Culturally Accepted Cell Phone Addiction

culture of cell phone addictsWe acknowledge as a society that addiction is not a good thing, however, our ability to collectively identify an addiction is sometimes lacking. We have affirmed that it is possible to become addicted to substances we ingest, such as alcohol and drugs, and we have affirmed that an addiction to sex, food or gambling is plausible, but despite the obvious over-saturation of cell phone usage in North America, we refuse to acknowledge the reality of cell phone addiction that is literally right under our noses.

It would seem that we have this problem whenever something comes along that we really enjoy as a society. Several other things that have gained this addiction-exempt status are consumerism, television, sports, movies and video games. What we perceive as addiction has a lot to do with our culture. For example, North American society is more sensitive to excessive alcohol consumption than the United Kingdom, so we are faster to identify alcoholism. Yet in the Netherlands (the country recently named the healthiest country in the world), residents would consider many North Americans to have a food addiction as we have an overwhelming obesity problem.

Similarly, countries that highly value in person interactions and living in a natural way would certainly consider our cell phone usage to be at the level of addiction. Unfortunately, that mindset has not become popular in North America. Social scientists predict that cell phone addiction will come to be identified and looked down on in North America over time, particularly if heavy cell phone usage proves damaging to our health. Some medical professionals already predict that the radio waves and satellite signals of communication devices such as cell phones will cause us eventual health problems, as will the posture we hold our bodies in to look at our cell phones. But as of right now, select groups of people squabble over whether or not cell phone addiction is real, all the while people continue to die on roads, kindergarten students are distracted through class and in person communication suffers greatly due to cell phones.

 

Obsessed with My Cell Phone

cell phone obsessedThe cell phone has been around since the 1980’s and has given us ways of staying connected that past generations could only imagine. Cell phones and pagers were originally used largely for work purposes, and were utilized first by doctors, CEOs and the likes. As cell phone technology advanced and became more accessible, however, our relationship as a society with cell phones changed dramatically. They became a commodity (some would even say a toy) and reached an unprecedented level of demand. A cell phone is now as in demand as transportation vehicles are. They are a necessary part of most working adult’s lives and many people end up in a lifestyle where a cell phone is not optional.

The difference between a cell phone and other utilitarian belongings is its pleasure producing abilities and its pervasiveness. Smart phone technology turned what was once a basic communications device into an entertainment center. Smart phones have all the features of a computer, including internet, games, media and every form of digital communication. They are enjoyable as well as functional. In addition, they are highly portable and can go virtually anywhere on a person. This makes detaching from them unlikely.

Throughout history, anywhere one could find something that is both pleasurable and easily accessible, one can find addiction. Addiction can have many faces – severe or minor, threatening or benign, obvious or subtle – but will still meet the criteria of addiction. In the same way, anything we interact with in life can also be abused, in a way similar to how a substance is abused. In the case of a cell phone, someone may not be addicted, but texting while driving is certainly an abuse of a cell phone because it can have disastrous consequences. But in the case of a spouse who repeatedly does not even speak to their partner during meals because of how engrossed in their phone they are, the term “addiction” can apply.

An addiction is any situation where a person becomes obsessed with a behavior, item or substance to the extent that their lives are negatively affected. While a cell phone addiction may seem minor in comparison to a drug addiction, it is still an unhealthy life choice, and should be remedied. Take whatever steps are necessary to end your cell phone addiction, even if it entails seeking addiction counseling. Balance is the key to a happy, successful life, and nothing will throw off balance faster than addiction.